The Back Pocket
Budgeting over Christmas
Christmas is one of everybody’s favourite times of year, but it can also be one of the most expensive. Most people want it to be a special and happy time, and are willing to pay for the little luxuries that make Christmas what it is, but they usually don’t want to spend the rest of the year paying for it. While a normal family Christmas will invariably cost a little extra, you can avoid financial hardship by some simple budgeting before hand. One of the best things you can do is start planning for Christmas expenses early. Don’t leave everything to mid December when you have to pay for it all on credit card, start buying tree decorations, wrapping paper, Christmas cards and some gifts a month or two in advance. This way they’ll be paid for before Christmas even arrives and take some of the financial pressure off the couple of weeks when you really want to be focused on your family and loved ones and not on your credit bills and other worries.
Limit your spending Also, bare in mind that budgeting does not mean leaving out all the things that make Christmas special. What it means is sitting down before hand and deciding how much you want to spend, or can afford to spend on each thing. If you know you have say ten gifts to buy, and say £100 to spend on gifts, then don’t consider gifts that are going to cost much more than £10 each. A little care and thought can make a big difference to your finances when the bills start coming in, in January. Likewise, budgeting doesn’t have to mean that you eat bread and water on Christmas day, but simply that you’ve decided before hand how much you can splash out on a family feast, and then stick to it.
Personalise it You can also bare in mind that Christmas, while certainly being a time of giving and enjoying the company of the people closest to you, does not have to be all about expensive purchases and shopping. If you are concerned about finances there are always a few simple money saving tips you can follow. For example you can try making your own decorations and cards, popcorn strings look beautiful on a tree and everyone loves to get a homemade personal Christmas card. You can also consider making some gifts or creating a secret Santa with the older members of your family so each person buys a gift for one other person, rather than having to buy a gift for everyone.
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